Officer Rusten Sheskey has informed investigators that it wasn’t just his life he was defending when he shot Jacob Blake seven times last month in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Officer Sheskey said that he used deadly force during the incident because he feared that Blake was trying to kidnap a child in the backseat of the vehicle while attempting to flee the scene.
According to Brendan Matthews, the attorney representing Officer Sheskey, the officer heard a woman say: “He’s got my kid. He’s got my keys.” If the officer had let Blake drive away with the child and something happened, “the question would have been ‘why didn’t you do something?’” Matthews said.
These statements by Matthews were made in an exclusive interview with CNN, and were made soon after Wisconsin authorities announced that the results of an investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice would be turned over to a retired police chief, who will serve as an independent consultant for a review.
The consultant is expected to forward the case and his analysis to local prosecutors, to determine whether criminal charges against Sheskey are warranted. Sheskey is currently on paid administrative leave.
The lawyer told CNN that he usually doesn’t discuss pending cases, but that he felt compelled to counter what he described as an “incomplete, inaccurate” narrative. He also disputed the narrative spun by Blake’s family and lawyers that Blake was unarmed and posed no threat. Matthews said that at the time that Sheskey opened fire, Blake had a knife in his hand and was twisting his body toward the officer.
The second officer at the scene is also being represented by Matthews, who says that the officer gave a similar account of Blake’s actions at the time of the shooting. The officer reportedly said that he would have opened fire as well, but he did not have a clear line of fire.
A knife was found on the floorboard of the vehicle, though few other details of the incident have been released.
Blake Was The Aggressor
Based on the statements that Officers Sheskey and Arenas gave to state investigators, Matthews says that Jacob Blake was the aggressor in the encounter.
Officers were called to the home where the incident occurred for “family trouble”. According to the dispatch log, a woman called and reported that Blake had taken her keys and refused to give them back.
Upon arriving at the scene, Sheskey saw Blake put one child in the car, but was unaware that two more children were already in the vehicle. Another officer heard a woman yelling that Blake had her children.
According to a press release issued by the police association last month, Blake was uncooperative from the moment officers encountered him, and quickly became combative. When the officers attempted to take control of him, Blake “actively resisted.” An officer fired a taser at him, but it did not stop him. He fought with officers and was able to put one officer in a headlock. Matthews said in his interview that that officer was Sheskey. Police attempted to taser Blake a second time, but it did not effect him.
According to Matthews, it was at that point that officers noticed a knife in Blake’s hand. They drew their guns, and demanded that he drop the knife.
The police association statement says that Blake did not drop the knife, and instead began walking around the front of the vehicle toward the driver’s side door. Video of the incident confirms this, showing Blake holding the knife in his left hand while walking around the car.
Matthews also contradicted the narrative that Blake was shot in the back. He told CNN that Sheskey and other officers administered first aid at the scene, and did not see any gunshot wounds to Blake’s back. Instead, he said they saw injuries on Blake’s arms, side, and abdomen.
Police have yet to report the precise location of Blake’s gunshot wounds. A press release from The Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation originally said that Sheskey fired his weapon seven times “into Mr. Blake’s back.” The language was later changed to say Sheskey fired “towards Mr. Blake’s back.”
According to Matthews, Sheskey has had to move out of his house and get rid of his phone because he’s been hounded by reporters and depicted as a racist and brutal cop online.
Reportedly, this was the first time Officer Sheskey had fired his weapon in the line of duty. “He didn’t go to work wanting to shoot anybody. He went to work trying to help people. That’s what he does every day. He absolutely did not want this to happen,” Matthews said of Sheskey.
Multiple Crimes At The Same Address
Reportedly, this was not the first time Blake had committed a crime at this address. In another case, a woman, describing Blake as her ex-boyfriend, told police that he took her car and debit card without her permission, and made around $1,000 in fraudulent withdrawals. She also reported that he had sexually assaulted her.
As reported by The New York Post:
“The victim, who is only identified by her initials in the paperwork, told police she was asleep in bed with one of her children when Blake came into the room around 6 a.m. and allegedly said ‘I want my sh-t,’ the record states.
She told cops Blake then used his finger to sexually assault her, sniffed it and said, “Smells like you’ve been with other men,” the criminal complaint alleges.
The officer who took her statement said she ‘had a very difficult time telling him this and cried as she told how the defendant assaulted her.’
…She then realized her car was missing, checked her purse and saw the keys were missing and then “immediately called 911,” the complaint alleges.”
At the time of the police shooting of Blake, the woman had a restraining order against him that prohibited him from being at her home.
Tim Pool, a YouTube commentator, posted a video discussing the facts of the case and the new details: